tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 11, 2016 10:04am-10:36am EST
>> with donald trump elected as next president, melania trump becomes our second foreign born first lady since luisa adams. learn more about flus from presidential spouses with the book "first ladies." it's a companion po' c-span's biography tv series and features interviews with 54 of the nation's leading first ladies historians, biography of 45 first ladies and archival photos. it's available wherever you buy book and now available in paper back. >> we're asking students to participate in this year's student cam documentary competition by telling us what is the most urgentesh for our next president, donald trump, and the incoming congress to
address in 2017. our competition is open to all middle school and high school students grade six through 12. students can work alone or in a group of up to three for producing five-minute documentary on the issue selected. a grand prize of $5,000 will go to the student or team with the best overall entry. $100,000 in cash prizes will be awarded and shared between 150 students and 53 teachers. this year's deadline is january 20th, 2017. that's inauguration day. for more information about the competition, go to our website, studentcam.org. >> on november 11th, 1921, an estimated 100,000 people gathered at arlington cemetery in virginia for a ceremony honoring unknown soldier of war i. u.s. army signal corps created film documenting journey from france to capital rotunda and its procession through arlington from the streets of washington,
d.c.. up next we'll show you the entire 23-minute film with narration provided by two world war i historians. >> welcome to real america on american history tv. 2017-2018 is the centennial of america's involvement in world war i and there will be undoubtedly lots of discussion about the impact of that war on the world and on american society. as part of that conversation, we are going to show you some vintage films from that era that document america's participation. and to help us understand this, because these are silent films, we've invited two world war i historians to help us narrate action of the film. looking at a 23-minute film from 1921 on the arrival of the unknown soldier to america's shor shores. as we start here fwf we see the film, who saw these films at the time they were made?
were they made for the american public? in many ways made to document for historians the event for miller, people involved with them. they might have been shown on news reels but this was a really important moment in the commemorative culture that was developing in the u.s. after world war i so they wanted to capture it on film and record it for future generations. >> how was it preserved and how do people access it today? who is in charge of this kind of precious resource? >> these were u.s. government films that were in some warehouse probably here in washington, d.c., and survived many years, and then eventually were transferred to the national archives, probably sometime after world war ii. the archives had the original cut. then eventually they were duplicated. i'm happy to say now they have been digitized, cleaned up quite a bit, and they are available on the national archives youtube channel. >> overall, what's the volume?
how many films like this were made? >> there are thousands and thousands of them made by almost every government agency around in world war i. primarily u.s. army signal corps but you also had the committee on public information, which was predecessor to owi and world war ii. they were kind of like propaganda arm of the federal government. so every agency -- i think they were excited the fact to have this new technology of motion picture, so they were kind of going crazy and making films. i think like allison said, they were there probably more for dissemination of government officials and so forth. maybe they were chopped up a bit and shown at news reels and movie theaters but i'm willing to bet a large part of the american public hasn't seen these before. it's quite exciting people will see this perhaps for the first time. >> with that background, let's roll the video, film, i should say, technology of the time on the technology of the unknown soldier.
where are we as this begins? >> i'm pretty sure this would be in france. right, allison? >> yes. >> obviously the french train is coming in. you can see the french soldiers there lined up as honor guard. >> allison finkel stein, how did this whole concept of unknown soldier being honored come about? >> it really goes back to beginning of mechanicization of work, more unidentified remain, more in the civil war. people were struggling with the fact they couldn't figure out who many of these casualties were. great britain and france in 1920 buried unknown soldier in each of their countries, great britain, westminster abbey, so the u.s. decided to do something similar to that. the idea was started by representative hamilton fish of
new york who presented legislation to bury an unknown soldier in the u.s. i believe in france where the unknown soldiers were taken from four different cemeteries. >> i'm walked through those streets before. it's interesting to see, to me, how many people turned out. not just the army as we can see mostly in the scene but french civilians showing their honor and patriotism towards the americans and really supporting the role the americans played helping liberate france during this really difficult time. >> so the french populace had a real understanding and appreciation for the role the american soldiers played and this was their opportunity to pay honor to them.
now, if we could spend just a moment, it was really interesting they brought the four soldiers in. there was a very elaborate process so that the ultimate selection of the one who would be the unknown soldier was really democratic and kept secret. why did they go to that length? >> they really wanted to make sure this was not a soldier that would be identifiable. this was a problem that later came you if we want to talk about it later in the program with the vietnam war unknown. they chose four and selected a wounded world war i veteran, sergeant edward younger to blindly figure out which one he was going to place the roses on. then they reburied the three in the sell taker. >> just to be tleer there were four caskets in the room. he was to lay roses on the casket he selected as the unknown soldiers. >> white roses. >> now casket on the naval ship. >> naval ship, uss olympic,
which was famous during spanish american war. admiral dewey's flag ship that captured manila in 1988. so it's got a storied history. >> how long would the voyage have taken from france on the united states. >> i think a little under two weeks. >> what was the preparation on the home shores for the arrival of this casket? >> there were a lot of preparations. first when the olympia pulled into the washington navy yard, it did so with a lot of pomp and circumstance. they had elaborate ceremonies planned for washington, d.c., once the unknown soldier arrived. >> so as it was making its crossing at that point, was there anything special about the voyage for the soldiers on board the ship? it wasn't regular cargo they were carrying. was there an honor guard or is that a detail lost to history? >> it was an honor guard that would have been selected specifically for this voyage.
you can just look and see, you know, in the film it would have been an absolute tribute just like honor guards at the tomb today. they were selected for certain reasons. this was a huge event in u.s. history. it was a way, i think, to kind of wrap up the war in a sense it had been a few years since the armistice and discovery of the bodies. still trying to figure out the burials. i think this is the way for americas to have closure. >> there we actually see disembarkation at the navy yard in washington, d.c. what are we looking at here? >> we are looking at the casket being taken down. you can see the honor guard there. we have a glimpse of general pershing, i believe, on the ship. >> who was general pershing. >> commander of kpe addition area forces in world war i, term used for american army. now here in the u.s. capital ro
tuna, the linking catapult, platform used to put president lincoln's coffin. >> president the united states hardy and mrs. hardy laying the ribbon across the casket. >> that's correct. they are representing the united states and ultimately not to jump ahead too much but he will give the keynote speech. >> the streets of washington were lined with thousands of folks who waited for the casket to be removed and brought by the honor guard down pennsylvania avenue and then across the
bridge into virginia. i think what i've read is one of the largest turnouts for any parade in the city. >> what does that say about the american public at that time? >> it says a lot that the person sacrifice was important, that the americas played a significant role during the war and that we lost tremendous amount of casualties. the fact that because of the type of warfare, there were so many unknown that they were difficult to identify once the repatriation occurred after the fighting. >> if you recognize any of the faces as they were coming across the screen, please let us know as we're talking here. >> the gentleman in the foreground charles h. brant, chief of chaplains for american expeditionary force. >> interesting to look back on widespread use of horses still. automobile coming into play but not as uniquely so at that time. >> yeah. the army kind of went into the
modern age of world war i using motorized. i think the tradition of using horse-drawn casket and obviously walking was something that they wanted to keep for this event. >> here the casket carried down the steps of the united states capitol. that's a scene modern americans will be familiar with with similar ceremonies in our time, put on the horse drawn gear and taken over to arlington ceremony. let's watch for just a minute.
>> now, who was invited to participate in this parade? it's really kwiatkowski a long demonstration of support. >> there's an interesting, diverse group of people that participated in the parade. as you can see, there are military groups. they formed a very prominent part of those participating. but also you had a lot of veterans. you had female veterans as well. women who served or volunteered during the war. i'm not sure how much the footage shows those. a lot of different groups of people, general pershing right there. >> president harding once again. >> they felt an honor po' participate, very much a populist thing. members of congress, supreme court, and i believe woodrow wilson for a very brief moment. he was, of course, ill at the time.
>> we see the soldiers on horse of the calvary was also there from fort meyer. they were led by george s. patton. the main contingent of the army was 13th engineers which was also based out of the washington, d.c., area. one of the other groups that was there were the gold star mothers. i think allison, what was their role? >> explain who the gold star mothers are? >> right. gold star mothers were women who lost a child during world war i. they wore a gold star to represent that loss. they participated in this part of the parade and ceremony laying wreaths at the tomb of the unknown soldier. >> there we see weaponry in the war honoring wore 1 -- world wai unknown so this. look at the divisions.
every branch of the military represented in the parade. >> we didn't have independent u.s. air force, they were part of the army. navy, marine corps and marine corps being part of the navy as well plus army. >> there's obviously a reviewing stand in downtown washington, d.c.. >> right. it looks so much different. almost looks like a village in france. >> is that pennsylvania avenue do we know? it's unrecognizable to me what part of town that is? >> yes. >> that's interesting. >> it's important to know that the navy and marine corps were there. even called tomb of the unknown soldier, the term soldier was meant to represent every member of the military, not just those in the united states army. >> and the parade continues in downtown washington from the u.s. capital. there is the casket of chosen unknown soldier represented falling in world war i.
>> i think one reason so many people came out to the parade and ceremony was they were really seeking a sense of closure from the world war. they were trying to find meaning in senseless losses and especially working through the grief that many of these families suffered from. both those who lost someone and those who had someone who suffered an injury, whether physical or psychological. >> also have to remember this was the age before any broadcasting. if people wanted to experience events, they couldn't listen on the radio or watch on television, they came to see them. >> you're absolutely right. newspapers covered events like this and world war quite well, day-to-day activities. >> i believe that's the president and first lady? >> i believe so, yes. >> they are also in horse drawn carriage. i understand they made a stop at the white house where the president could switch into an automobile for the final part of
the trip. >> i imagine it was going way too slow with all the of the traffic. one thing to point out is the washington police who were in charge of patrolling the traffic, there were too few of them. i read an article in the "washington post" kppg about so many people didn't make it to the ceremony because the roads were so clogged getting across the potomac river that many came back the next day and day after just because they couldn't make it that day. >> among those honoring unknown soldier in addition to president and general pershing as we mentioned earlier, members of congress came? >> yes. >> the supreme court. >> correct. >> and diplomatic core were also invited to attend this, along with many members of civic groups that helped support the war effort and the military. >> there were also a lot of representatives from the allied nations as well. they really wanned to show support for american unknown soldier and continue the bonds
of friendship that were created during first world war. >> so interesting to look at the way people dressed in this timeframe. >> yeah. they all look the same. >> here you can see the american war mothers, which was a group of mothers that banded together during the war to support the military because their children were serving. and after the war, they did a lot of community service in support of veterans. and i believe those women were from army nurse corps. it's a little hard to tell. it's blurry. >> either that or maybe salvation army. >> they can be. some of the uniforms look very similar until you can see their insignia. >> what role did women play in the war effort of world war i. >> a diverse and significant role. there were women enlisted in the
navy and marine corps, first to do so, female marines. women were army nurses, navy nurses. they also served in a wide variety of auxiliary organizations. they served doughnuts to troops overseas with salvation army. they were called doughnut dollies. telephone operators for signal corps, hello girls. you had women helping on the home front in many ways. >> we heard about rosie the riveter. were women involved in the actual buildup, creation of arms for world war i? >> absolutely. just like world war ii, a lot of civilian factories were quebted over bo wartime machinery. the one thing to point out, though, relied so heavily when it came to technology for tank and artillery in many cases and armaments for allies that we were really slow in producing. a lot of factories were turned over. yes, women took over the roles
men normally would have, either enlisted or drafted into the service. >> ultimately how many americans fought in world war i? >> we had 4 million men and women in uniform. roughly 2 million of those were overseas in theaters of war, mostly in the western front fl we also had troops in north russia and sibera, also in italy. out of that 2 million who were actually in war zones, about 100,000 died, about half of that 50,000 were from combat deaths. the other 50,000 were from disease like the flu or accident, suicide, or other deaths as they say. >> also a dollar figure attached to u.s. involvement in world war i? >> i don't know the exact number. >> can i presume we are now on the grounds of arlington cemetery, what we're looking at now looks a bit more rural. >> it could be that area
surrounding cemetery changed a lot since 1921 but probably somewhere near the perimeter or back sort of on the way up to the hillside where the tomb of the unknown soldier is located. >> one thing if you visit there today, every single hill is filled with white stones from soldiers from the various wars. can you see vast amounts of ground that are yet uninterred. >> the general had a headstone he wanted and next to him his grandson richard who died in the vietnam war. >> i think right now they are walking up closer to the memorial amphitheater, which was constructed before the tomb of the unknown soldier and had ceremonies. that circular road reminds me of how it looks today. do you think so, mitch? >> absolutely. as you point out the ground without the lawn there kind of throws us.
>> the amphitheater is well familiar to modern americans because the president goes every year on veterans day in a ceremony and lays wreaths at the tomb of the unknown soldier. how many, world war i plus world war ii. >> world war ii. >> korean war. there was an internment from vietnam war but that soldier was actually identified as michael blassey the air force. at the request of his family he was disinterred and reinterred at arlington sorry money. >> that's important to know. the days of the unknown soldier are behind us because of dna identification. there's no such thing as unknown soldier, is that correct? >> that's correct. with the technology we have, it's a lot easier. one thing to point out about world war i, the first time dog
tags issued to everyone, information on a disk about the soldier. the idea they were killed and needed to be buried, one was nailed to the control and the other kept with the soldier. that helped with identification after the war. but the problem was the technology, type of artillery used in some cases made soldiers unidentifiable, even though registration service wen to great lengths to try and figure out the identities. of course in this case they couldn't figure it out. >> look at the number of wreaths at that amphitheater. there's the president addressing the crowds. we can see a vast number of people in the official audience and the crowd of the public beyond it.
>> the acoustics of the theatre are very good having been to ceremonies there. looking at it now, it's almost unchanged today from how it was in 1921. >> look at that crowd. >> many of these wreaths were from different veterans associations across the country, groups of women who supported the war effort. people who couldn't get to the ceremony. this was such a big deal measures really wanted to feel they were participating in some way. >> i think some were sent from every army unit, especially at the division level. >> i believe that is the representative from possibly france. the unknown soldier received metals from great britain, france, all of these different nations wanted to show their
support for the american in the participation for the first world war. >> those are the laying on of the medals, holding the casket. >> yes. can you see many of those at arlington cemetery still in the collection. >> look at those crowds. also look at washington, d.c., how undeveloped it is. >> you can see the lincoln memorial. >> that's right. >> wide open spaces. >> folks made it over there, thousands more who couldn't make it because of the large turnout. >> i think it's interesting to note people on the roof of the theater, some of the best photographs we have of the ceremony were taken from above. >> and also how unsernd really they were about presidential security. today there just couldn't be people up on the roofs like that. there would be snipers in the crowds protecting the president. >> despite the fact three presidents had been assassinated
before this. >> right. they are carrying the casket to the place where today people go they will actually see the white -- is it called a sarcophagus which the casket is interred. >> that was not corrected yet. all we see now is the actual tomb. where they are walking is somewhat near where the plaza would later be constructed where the sentinels from the united states army third regiment now guard the tomb. this part of the plaza has changed quite a bit. >> the congressman who started this all, hamilton fish, do we know if he had in the role in the day when it finally happened? >> he definitely did. hamilton fish served in the first world war. he was an officer in the 369th infantry regiment, segregated
african-american regiment, and he was a white officer. just to pause that's the chief representing native americans. hamilton fish helped organize and orchestrate the ceremony. i believe he was there. >> he was a very influential member of congress and especially when it came to the national guard, which was about a third of the american fighting forces overseas. >> he also helped to found the american legion. >> so his dedication to those who fought was consistent throughout his career. >> yes. i believe that's frathe bugler became famous playing "taps" at the ceremony. .
so that is where today you see the larger sarcophagus over that, which was not yet constructed at this moment. >> and there the final shot of arlington national cemetery much as we see it today with many whitehead stones marking the graves of the fallen. >> the capital lit you at night. >> i think it's important to pause for a moment and think about meaning unknown soldier had at this time. it was about world war i, yes, but thought to be a memorial that could connect all of the different american conflicts that can stretch beyond world war i and really honor all of those who served in our nation's armed forces. that really continues very strongly until today. >> and at the time they wouldn't know how history would unfold but they thought it was the war to end all wars. >> they did. i think a number of participants including general pershing recognized that the germans surrendered as armistice which wasn't a true surrender.
i think the fact the war really didn't come to an absolute closure, that there would be something in the future. i suspect in the back of his mind he thought we're going to be fighting this again. i don't think they knew it was going to happen some 20 years later. >> thanks to both of you and helping us see through the lens of history, a ceremony that helped millions of americans put world war i to closure after many tumultuous years in the united states. thanks for your expertise. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> this week owned american history tv on c-span3, saturday night a little after 1k eastern, kings college london visiting professor andrew roberts discussion role of chief of staff marshall in america's world war ii victories arguing skills as a strategist.
>> this gentleman, beautiful manners, incorruptible, single minded and astonishingly calm considering the pressures on him. >> at 10:00, real america. 1921 silent film created by u.s. army signal corps honoring unknown soldier of world war i. >> it was tremendous. the streets of washington lined with thousands of folks who waited for the casket to be removed and brought by the honor guard down pennsylvania avenue and across the bridge into virginia. i think what i've read is one of the largest turnouts for any parade in the city. >> sunday evening at 6:00 eastern on american artifacts. >> the beautiful building and from the moment it opened it was already too small for what it was about to face. constructed to handle about half a million people a year, it ended up handling in 1907 alone
a 1 million 200,000. >> we ontoured to learn about immigrant experience. in 1909 woodrow wilson nominated boston lawyer louis brandeis to the supreme court, the first jew to sit on the supreme court. in commemoration of his nomination, author of louis brandeis life talks about the justice's life, career and legacy. >> what brandeis is trying to do limit to a specific role one defined by constitutional network in which all government operates and which limits or should limit any one branch from exercising power beyond it's province. >> for our entire schedule go to c-span.org.